Parenting has it’s good days and it’s bad days. There are ups and there are downs. There are times when I’m pretty sure I’ve blown it and times when I feel like I’m the greatest mom ever.
Parenting is hard. I wish someone would’ve sat me down and explained to me just how hard it was BEFORE I became a mom.
I don’t know much about parenting….as my kids are still young and I’m pretty much just rolling with the punches as they come.
But there are a few things I do know:
1) I’m not perfect. I can’t be perfect. I will make mistakes as a mom. I will mess my kids up. That’s not the important part, what’s important is how I handle it after the mistake has been made.
2) My children aren’t perfect. They are human beings – little sinners just like me. I can’t expect perfection from them. I can’t expect them to do everything I tell them to do or listen to everything I say.
3) I am a sinner, saved by grace, and my job is to teach my children about the Giver of that grace. My job is not just to tell them about Christ, but to show them. I need to show them what grace is. They will remember my actions much better than they remember my words.
But if I’m being totally honest here, I’m not very good at being a gracious parent. I’m a control freak, a perfectionist, an introvert, and socially awkward. I fail my children daily when I lose my cool. I fail them when I try to obsessively control the world around me. I fail them when I avoid talking to other people because I get anxious.
I love my children. Every time I fail them, I feel a part of me break inside. I beat myself up over and over for making the same dumb mistakes. Why? Why do I do it? If I know that God is gracious and I want to teach my children about His grace, love, and mercy, why am I so reluctant to accept it myself in the area of parenting?
Because I set ridiculously high standards of perfection for myself. I expect myself to be the perfect mom so when I mess up, I feel the weight of my own guilt and shame come crashing down on top of me.
So here’s what I want to say to all the other moms out there – GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE!! Trust God in your mistakes. Use those mistakes as tools to show your children who God is.
I know this is easier said than done. Even now, as I write this, I am trying not to berate myself for all the ways in which I was a “bad mom” today.
Let’s stop comparing our hidden life, our sins and failures, to the external life we see of another mom. You’re not the only mom who feels like you’re ruining your kids lives. Reach out a hand to another mom and I can almost guarantee that she feels the same way.
Our job as parents is to point little sinners towards grace…little sinners that are often little versions of ourselves because our sins have rubbed off on them. They know our triggers and push our buttons and while our love for them is never a question, our own sin doesn’t always want to show grace.
I’m not a perfect mom. I don’t have perfect kids. But if I do nothing else right, I pray that I will at least show my kids the meaning of grace.